US Naval History and The Current China Threat

BY PGF
1 year, 7 months ago

“Hoist the Flag and Sound the Trumpet” is a bit of a long read, but if all things Navy interest you, check it out.

The need for a navy has been recognized for thousands of years. The Athenian Themistocles said that “he who controls the sea controls everything.” And you cannot control the sea without a sufficient navy. By the American Revolution, we had our own naval advocate in John Paul Jones who said, “in time of peace, it is necessary to prepare, and always be prepared for war by sea…without a respectable navy, alas America.” But how do you do that?

We can go start at the American Revolution when an ad hoc navy was both constructed and procured, when merchant ships became privateers or, like the Bonhomme Richard converted to a warship. We had a continental navy, state navies, privateers, and an ally with the French navy, but coordination was always a challenge. Harassing British seaborne commerce largely fell to the privateers. During the war, 1,700 letters of marque were issued. In the last year of the war alone there were 450 privateers patrolling the Atlantic seeking British merchant ships as prizes. Privateers captured three times as many prizes as the Continental Navy. British shipping insurance, as a result, increased ten-fold to thirty percent of their cargo value. That made merchants take notice who shared their displeasure with their members of Parliament.

Following the war, absent a navy, the young nation faced a new debate about a new Constitution. And in that debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, we find them just as passionate on whether to have a standing navy and the size of the navy as on any other subject. It is Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper 11 who argued for a standing navy – a navy of respectable weight including great ships of the line against maritime powers to place a check on them. In Federalist Paper 41, James Madison argued that the Atlantic states and towns would benefit from naval protection, “if they have hitherto been suffered to sleep quietly in their beds.”

And, so, was born a clause in Article 1 Section 8 of the new United States Constitution that Congress must “provide and maintain a navy.” What remained to be determined, however, is what size to make an eventual navy.

[…]

We as a nation and a navy are not ready because we have chosen not to be. What do we need to prepare for a potential conflict with China?

We need executive vision and action.

We need congressional interest, oversight and funding.

We need a navy to build operational platforms.

We need a much larger industrial base. 

Well, our industrial base was shipped (sorry, couldn’t resist) to China. The fixation with the number of ships is strange. And, who precisely, is going to man these ships?

 


Comments

  1. On November 14, 2022 at 9:40 pm, bob sykes said:

    Any future great power war will be a war of attrition. There will be NO replacement ships or airplanes or tanks or trucks… Most importantly, there will be no replacements for the the current, professional, well trained service men and women. Eventually, we will be fighting using half trained conscripts and very primitive equipment. That’s assuming there isn’t a nuclear paroxysm that finishes civilization.

  2. On November 14, 2022 at 10:09 pm, george 1 said:

    I have a friend who I got to know in San Diego in the 1980s. He is a retired naval intelligence officer. I still communicate with him from time to time. I recently asked him how the U.S. would fare in a conflict with Russia or China.

    His answer: “We no longer have the industrial capacity OR the social capitol to carry out such a war without going to nukes.”

  3. On November 15, 2022 at 3:38 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The personnel of the armed forces may be the tip of the proverbial spear, but the economy of the nation is its shaft. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, the industrial output of the United States was fully one-half of the entire world! Today, we are but a shadow of that industrial powerhouse, and in a conflict of any duration, our inadequate industrial base is sure to haunt us.

    And that’s even with a navy whose training, morale, personnel and equipment are first-rate. It strains credulity to believe that today’s ‘woke’ services are up to anything like the standard of the superb fighting forces once fielded by this nation.
    Little Suzy Snowflake in her sailor suit isn’t going to cut it when the hammer comes down….

  4. On November 16, 2022 at 8:34 am, mike said:

    “It strains credulity to believe that today’s ‘woke’ services are up to anything like the standard of the superb fighting forces once fielded by this nation.
    Little Suzy Snowflake in her sailor suit isn’t going to cut it when the hammer comes down….”

    Absolutely correct. The rainbow warriors allowed a minor fire aboard an Amphibious assault ship to burn unchecked over several days while the ship was tied up pier side, and the ship became a total loss. Inexcusable. If they cannot fight a minor fire in port how are they going to save a stricken ship in wartime? They answer is they probably won’t and the losses will be massive.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Navy and was published November 14th, 2022 by PGF.

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